21 February 2011


I never really hung out with my dad that much when I was growing up.  One of the few consistent times I'd be able to spend time with him would be on Sunday mornings.  My mom was always the one who wanted to go to the first mass of the day, so when we'd get back home my dad would usually still be sleeping.  I'd get myself some cereal and try to get it to their bedroom (it had the TV in it) without spilling anything.
You see, when I was still in grade school the one day of the week I could chill with my dad was only possible because of two things.  One was Samurai Sunday.  (All you Chicago cats should know what I'm talking about.)  Each Sunday, a new poorly dubbed kung fu flick, complete with all the acrobatics and goofy sound effects.  We'd sit there and watch until it was over and then he'd take off to do whatever he went and did.
But prior to the movie starting (or maybe it was directly after, I don't remember anymore) there was another show I'd watch with him.  Some days my mom would might stop whatever she was doing and sit with us for a little bit when it came on.  It was a locally produced show about news from the Philippines.  I never really understood what my dad saw in it back then.  To be honest, as a kid all it was to me was a bunch of clips and people talking about what my dad called home, but I didn't have that same feeling he did.  
This was back in the day before cable or the internet and all that, and I don't think I ever appreciated what that show meant to him back then.  I mean, today the world is much smaller.  Technology's made it possible to access news from around the world wherever I am.  News feeds allow me to scan headlines from Philippine sources any time of the day.  Today you could pay some extra cash for TFC or GMA or whatever and watch the actual shows being put on over there.  Back then the only news was on the local news shows on broadcast television.  For Philippine news all you had was whatever you could get your hands on at your closest Filipino store.  Maybe if you were lucky a sentence or two would show up in the newspaper's International section, but in terms of media that was pretty much it other than this.
Although I didn't really understand it then, I think just sitting there watching and listening to my dad talk about what he saw reinforced in me that there was a whole part of our history, another part of us that he was trying to stay connected to.  Outside of the occasional hand written letter or the late night crappy sounding collect call, this was his link to his country, his past, and his family.  And it was in those small moments that it became a part of mine as well.
I don't think it was until I had kids of my own that I started to think about hard about my childhood.  To be honest I've spent most of my life trying to find ways to forget most of it.  Parenthood changes you I suppose, trying to make it so they don't have to go through the same crap I did.  In the end, isn't that why our parents tried to get here?  As much as my dad wanted to keep that link alive, I hope that I'm able to continue it with my own kids and that it doesn't stop there.
Thanks for reading.

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